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Plan for financial success in this new year

Today is the start of the new year. That means new beginnings and a new outlook on the first day of the rest of your life.

It is a time for great inspiration and great learning.

The inspiration holidays are over. Everyone had a great time, but are now surfeited from the partying, presents, purchases, relatives, work, and other Christmas festivities.

In the aftermath the bills come in, the recriminations, and thoughts such as “I shouldn't have,” and “Why did I spend so much?”

Stop. It is time to give yourself some peace. You did the best that you could given your personal situation and family relationships that are never perfect even under the best of circumstances.

Promise yourself this — don't look back and no recriminations.

What is past, is past. If you need to make something right because you have blundered, been selfish or imprudent, do it now. Make the apologies and correct the wrong. Do the right thing and get it over with.

Then go forward into the light. Remember, you are here — many are not. You have another chance to become a success, to be a better person and in doing so to reach for the stars. It is your turn to shine in the new year.

What do you have planned for yourself this year to achieve greater success?

Learning. Do yourself a favour by opening your mind. Sign up for a course (finance, investments, business, programming, history, accounting, etc) to improve your financial situation.

There are thousands of online courses out there. Some are available through universities and non-profit educational groups. For example there is Stanford Online, MIT OpenCourseWare, Michigan U, Melbourne U, Wharton School of Business, Khan Academy, and MoneySkill for young adults www.moneyskill.org. You only have to type an interest into Google search and there it is.

There are also local Bermuda community lectures..

Want to learn about investments? Your children are learning about securities in school, you need to keep up with them. Start with the basics, perhaps read Peter Lynch's Learn to Earn, Investing for Dummies (that you are not!), or the Beginner's Guide to Investing — Successful Investing 101 by Manuel Taylor and John Davidson.

There are many more books on anything that you may be interested in, and they are available at popular hotspots like Amazon, for purchase, or borrowed through the Bermuda library.

With searching, and a very small annual fee of $8.95 a year — less than a glass of wine — you can join The World Public Library at www.worldlibrary.org. Other options are the International eBook Library, or Open Library. Use Google search to explore the endless possibilities.

Another avenue is YouTube. This video site is not just for laughs, it is for learning too. For those who can't sit still more than five minutes and hate to read, YouTube has enormous tutorial resources for every topic under the sun. All it takes to learn is your intellectual curiosity. Try it, you will like it.

For beginners there is: Investing 101, Part I [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-7iHHBGWHQ]. For the more advanced take a one hour lesson from well-known hedge fund master manager William Ackman: Everything You Need to Know about Finance and Investing [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEDIj9JBTC8].

Meanwhile, in this column the Bermuda Investment Primer will start soon. There will be two parallel articles that look at running a company and investing for the future, featuring Famous MamaZina's (MZee) Pizzarina's business plan. We introduce MZee here again.

MamZina is ambitious, even possessed. She is shrewd, calculating and instinctively very good at marketing, visibility and selling product — any product.

She has a serious long-term plan and has been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. Here it is.

Start up a business by investing in herself first.

1. Make it profitable.

2. Grow it to an enviable production level.

3. When business viability reaches maximum saturation, take it public or sell it off — but she will not sell it to her children or take back a mortgage on the sale of the business.

4. Celebrate all the way to the bank.

5. Use the profits along the way to:

6. Take out the competition.

7. Set up retirement plans for herself and her children.

8. Learn about other companies, invest in them and develop a portfolio.

9. Fund the family's life insurance.

10. Pay off the family home mortgage, and protect it and all her assets for her grandchildren

11. Retire on her dividends, rents and savings. You know, the familiar Bermudian financial story.

MZee and her husband have three children named Sonny, Juliana and Desmond who all work in the pizza business.

Dad is gone — quietly. He passed a few years ago from various physical ailments, but most probably from MZee's relentless quest to reach her goals. He just got plumb worn out from her insatiable demands and dominating personality. His constant refrain was that he just wanted to work a normal day then relax in a normal life.

Mzee has a completely different take on what a normal work day should be, because she wanted more. It might be said that she spent him to death. May he rest in peace.

This is MZee's New Year's resolution for this year and for a quite a number of new years down the road. Notice there is little to no planning for elaborate vacations or fancy vehicles.

Looking ahead, here are some of Moneywise features planned for this year.

• As previously mentioned, MamaZina's Pizzarina ambitious business success story — from start-up to going public. This is just a small vignette of the life of a small Bermudian business.

• Stay tuned also for the Bermuda Retirement Series with volunteer reader participation in assorted composite cases.

• Is our future the cashless society?

• Further examination of the Bermuda Government's Consolidated Audit for years 2010-2012, with financial calculations.

• A new feature that I hope you will all want to participate in, the Once-a-Month Bermuda Financial FAQ. Send me your financial questions, confidentially of course, and I will answer them. Rules for this new column will be posted soon.

Beyond those listed there will of course be some other surprises.

Happy new year and best wishes for personal financial success.

Martha Harris Myron CPA PFS JSM, Masters of Law: International Tax and Financial Services. Appointed to the Professional Tax Advisory Council, American Citizens Abroad, https://americansabroad.org/. The Pondstraddler* Life™ Consultancy providing financial planning, publications, presentations for Bermuda residents, their multinational families and connections. Contact: martha@pondstraddler.com

Set yourself up: A full moon seen through a festive decoration. The new year has arrived, and with it the opportunity to start afresh on plans for the rest of your life, including putting into action a plan for your personal finances

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Published January 02, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated December 31, 2015 at 7:55 pm)

Plan for financial success in this new year

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